October 28, 2000
The Texas A&M University System
The Office of the Commandant
The Corps of Cadets,
Texas A&M University
L. Lowry Mays '57
Raul B. Fernandez '59
Capt. Robert L. Acklen Jr., '63
Sam Houston Sanders Corps of Cadets Center
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
|In order to be eligible for induction into the Sam Houston
Sanders Corps of Cadets Center, an individual must have been
a member of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University,
lived a life exemplifying the "Fightin' Texas Aggie Spirit,"
and possessed those values upon which the Corps was founded,
including Strength, Respect, Honor, Judgment, Loyalty, Perseverance,
Pride, Creativeness, Patriotism, Leadership, Service above Self,
and Honesty .
Capt. Robert L. Acklen Jr., '63 was a highly decorated combat veteran and international humanitarian. After graduating from Texas A&M with a bachelor of arts degree in history, Bob was commissioned an Army officer in 1967. He served 32 continuous months in combat in Vietnam, as both a helicopter pilot and infantry company commander. He received 17 decorations for valor in combat and left Vietnam only after suffering a broken back in a helicopter crash. During his 22 months in the hospital, doctors said he would never walk again. He proved them wrong by returning to active duty and completing the rugged Army Ranger School as an honor graduate a year later. He continued to serve until 1976 when he was medically retired due to his combat injuries. At retirement, his military decorations included the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, six Bronze Star Medals (four for valor), 40 Air Medals (four for valor), four Army Commendation Medals (three for valor), the Purple Heart and three Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry. He returned home to Dallas and earned a degree in computer science from North Texas State University. He donated his services to help develop the computer system of the St. Johns Ophthalmic Hospital in Jerusalem, traveling to Israel at his own expense. For this work, he was made a knight of the Order of St. John by Queen Elizabeth II of England. For his global and community service he was made a knight of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus by the Duke of Savoy.
|Year 2000 Hall of Honor inductees in front of the
Texas A&M University Sam
Houston Sanders Corps of Cadets Center; on the right, representing the family
of the late CPT Robert L. Acklen, Jr. (B Company Commander, 3rd BN, 506th,
September 1969-March 1970 and C Company Commander, 3rd BN, 506th, March 1970-
October 1970) is Bob's sister Carolyn Bender. Each inductee was presented a
lapel pin and a case containing a plaque engraved with the recipient's biography.
|Bob's family members attending the induction ceremony
(L-R): Parke Brown, second
Nashville, TN; Barbara Noel, cousin, Aurora, CO; John Acklen, brother, Cincinnati, OH;
Lattie Brown, cousin, Nashville, TN; Carolyn Acklen Bender, sister, Quinlan, TX; Aimee
Acklen Martin, sister, Aledo, TX; Laurie Acklen, sister-in-law, Cincinnati, OH; and Oscar
F. Noel, IV, second cousin, Aurora, CO. Note that the plaque in the upper right corner of the
Corps Hall of Honor display contains Bob Acklen's engraved portrait and biography.
|Bob's fellow veterans attending the induction ceremony:
(L-R): COL Robert F. Gonzales
(TAMU class of '68); Ray Mayfield (C Co, 2nd BN, 506th, 1966-1967; A Co, 3rd BN, 506th,
1967-1968); SFC(R) Tony Montesa (HHC, 3rd BN, 506th, 1968); Bill Harris (chopper pilot,
1968); Howard White (chopper pilot, 1969); Hoyt Bruce Moore, III (A Co, 1st BN, 506th,
1970-1971); Gene Overton (C Co, 1st BN, 506th, 1967-1968); Mike Marks (C Co, 3rd BN,
506th, 1970) and seated, Terry Van Meter (B/C/HHC, 2nd BN, 506th, 1966-1968).
|The 506th Association presented Currahee pins to Bob's
family members attending
the induction ceremony. Association President Gene Overton and Treasurer Hoyt
Bruce Moore, III are pinning them on John Acklen (brother) and Lattie Brown
(cousin). Aimee Acklen Martin (sister) is on the far left.
|Remembrance Tags were worn by Bob's
family and friends at the
induction ceremony and also at the luncheon given by the President
of Texas A&M University. Also attending the luncheon was Texas
Lieutenant Governor (later Governor) Rick Perry and former
President George Bush with former first lady Barbara Bush.